TfTM Blog: Testosterone – the decisions and the waiting by MeikePosted: October 7, 2012
I started on my journey of gendered self-discovery from a place of depression, angst, and the nagging feeling that I didn’t quite know everything there was to know about myself. It’s been almost three years since I started questioning myself and my gender identity, and I now find myself at an important milestone: being officially on testosterone. For many, this is sort of a penultimate experience. It marks the start of the physical change from female to male. Feminine to masculine.
In this post I want to address two important themes: how I came to the decision to take testosterone, and what I like to call The Waiting Game. The first topics is important not because it’s about me, but because everyone’s process is different. Sometimes, the decision to transition or take T mirrors that of hundreds of trans* folk’s decisions. Other times it might not be so clear-cut, and we might find ourselves struggling to see ourselves in others and their processes.
I took the latter route. Having never had a strong sense of myself as “male”, my gender journey never seemed fit into the stereotypical FTM narrative of “I’ve always felt like a man/boy in a woman’s/girl’s body.” I would watch videos of trans guys on YouTube, and while I was in awe and strangely jealous of them, I never connected their experiences with my own. My desire for top surgery was obvious, but it took me the better part of two years to solidify my feelings on taking hormones. I drew up an elaborate pros and cons list about why I would/would not like to go on T. In the end, I came to a decision: I would rather change my body to match how I saw myself, than try and alter my self-perceptions to match the reality of my body.
Believe it or not, that’s an incredibly hard decision to make. Even if I’d had a strong sense of “maleness”, it’s a struggle to up and change the person you’ve been seeing in the mirror for however long. Added to this was the problem of me being an identical twin, which is a story for another post. But needless to say, I felt extremely lost and confused about purposefully changing my appearance to the point where my twinness wasn’t obvious to everyone around me. I’d never heard of twins, triplets, etc., where one half or portion was trans and the other wasn’t.
However, here I am almost three years from the start of it all, and I’ve been on T for about three weeks. Suddenly the importance of it all seems significantly decreased. I sometimes can’t believe how long I would spend agonizing over the decision. And a part of that is because, at this point, nothing’s changed all that much. I didn’t turn into a hairy, manly beast overnight, and so now I find myself almost impatient at my progress thus far. There’s no new hair, or smells, or voice changes – nothing.
This is a time that I’m sure is very hard for a lot of trans folk. Many of the people I’ve talked to are just revving up to start their new lives, as they were supposed to have been all along, and not seeing those desired effects can be devastating. But again, I never had that deep-seated sense of my own maleness. Masculinity, yes, but not being male per se. And so instead of agonizing even more over the effects of T, I find myself curiously waiting for changes to start. After all, I’ve never had this amount of testosterone in my body before, and puberty didn’t exactly go the way I’d thought it would. Going through it again at the age of 22 is, frankly, a very bizarre experience. But I’m finding ways to look forward to waiting, because that’s all I can do at this point. That, and celebrate how far I’ve come over the years.